It’s funny that the two Marvel heroes making the news are characters who don’t even have their own comic books at the moment. There’s been a lot of chatter about Ant-Man since Edgar Wright walked away from the project, with Marvel finally landing Peyton Reed (Bring It On) as director. But while that hunt was still on, Marvel announced director Scott Derrickson (Sinister) for Doctor Strange. On top of that, there’s the usual rumors and exclamations and fan wringing of hands, but we’re here to help you make sense of it all with a rundown of what’s true and what’s false.
Dr. Strange, an Englishman himself, would be best played by Tom Hardy or Benedict Cumberbatch.
FALSE! While I have no doubt that either of the rumored actors would do a great job, Dr. Stephen Strange isn’t from England. He’s from the East Coast. Americans have a tendency to want their wizards to come in one flavor - British - but Strange, according to Marvel’s wiki, was born in Philadelphia. It’s easy to reconcile when you consider author H.P. Lovecraft, whose stories of interdimensional ancient horrors inspired many a Dr. Strange comic book, was a New Englander through and through.
Scott Derrickson is an unexpected choice for Dr. Strange.
TRUE! But this may be because most of us haven’t seen Deliver Us from Evil yet. That film, slated for release on July 2, impressed its studio enough to move it from a winter 2015 release to a prime summer horror slot, which paid off for unexpected hits like The Conjuring. A look at Derrickson on Box Office Mojo also reveals a filmmaker who consistently makes hugely profitable movies (even perceived “bombs” like 2008’s The Day the Earth Stood Still grossed $233 million worldwide), so it’s in line with the types of “rising star” directors that Marvel has hired before.
As for the Dr. Strange character himself, Derrickson has already worked with visually representing spiritual planes within his films (Hellraiser: Inferno and The Exorcism of Emily Rose), but those feel fettered by budget and the needs of the story. We haven’t seen Derrickson cut loose on otherworldly spectacle like “easy” fan picks such as Guillermo del Toro, but Marvel’s just given him his chance to impress.
They should’ve killed plans for the Ant-Man movie when Edgar Wright split.
FALSE! Though a large portion of interest in Ant-Man from online film geeks was because Edgar Wright was attached, the worldwide general audience has no such allegiance to the filmmaker. Most people would be going to Ant-Man simply to see the latest Marvel superhero on film. Of course these films do as well as they do because of the skilled directors attached, but those directors are not the marketing’s selling point to see these movies (ask anyone on the street if they can name who directed The Winter Soldier).
We are also at a point where these films are meticulously planned and scheduled to be part of a product rollout. Ant-Man will have connective tissue to films before it and films after it, and it sits in a slot to make Disney shareholders and Ant-Man licensees happy. It can’t be shelved just because Edgar Wright left; the machinery isn’t just in place - it’s moving. We may have been robbed of his unique vision for the film, but Ant-Man lived before Wright and will live long after him.
There are no good Ant-Man comics.
False! There’s not a ton of stuff if you’re looking for stories focusing on just Ant-Man (though original Ant-Man Hank Pym has been integral in many classic Avengers tales), but it’s out there. You just have to look a little harder. I’d point you toward Avengers: Mythos which has a great modern updated origin story for Ant-Man (as well as the new characters being added to Avengers: Age of Ultron - Vision, Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver). Ant-Man Season One is a good primer on Hank Pym’s start as well.
In the film, Pym will be played by Michael Douglas, with Paul Rudd as the second Ant-Man Scott Lang. You can read Lang’s first appearance in Marvel Premiere #47, but the price on that issue continues to climb as anticipation builds for the movie. For more of Lang, try Matt Fraction and Mike Allred’s recent run of FF, chronicling the Fantastic Four’s Future Foundation school under the care of Scott Lang.
Disconnected somewhat from the films is The Irredeemable Ant-Man from The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman and artist Phil Hester. It follows an unscrupulous S.H.I.E.L.D. agent named Eric O’Grady who appropriates Pym’s technology to become a completely self-serving superhero. It’s a funny series and one that most likely signifies the kind of tone Marvel wants to bring to the movie.
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